So, I read this book a few weeks ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.
It explores three different versions of how two characters – Eva and Jim – interact in each other’s lives, based on the small choices of a seemingly inconsequential meeting.
In version one, they meet, fall in love and get married. Life ensues.
In version two, they meet, fall in love, but Eva soon finds that she is pregnant (out of wedlock! scandalous!) from her previous relationship. She breaks it off with Jim and marries baby daddy. They both live with unrequited love.
In version three, their initial meeting is completely forgettable. She marries her boyfriend (see version two), he partners with someone else and life ensues. But… they periodically bump into each other as time goes by and feel a strange connection.
Initially, the book was a bit complicated to read. I kept having to refer back to what version I was on. It felt a little messy to me, always skipping around. But, eventually, I stopped trying to meticulously track everything and just read each chapter as it was. After a few paragraphs, it became obvious which version I was on and what was happening in that particular timeline.
The writing was solid, the characters were flawed, but lovely and the sheer bounty of life – in each version – was enthralling. At the end of each story, I sobbed… so, like, for a good three chapters… ceaseless sobbing. Then I had to immediately review the book and read all the other reviews and commentary on it.
What I loved about this book is that it “scratched” that what-if question I toy with all the time. I, myself, have often marveled at how interconnected life can be — how one small decision can change the course of everything forever. It’s easy to fall down the “what if this was different” rabbit hole.
I especially love how it ended – all three times. What I took away from it is that some people are just destined to be part of your story and that, ultimately, everything turns out okay in the end. Not perfect, but okay.
Read this if you’re not afraid of complicated story lines and buckets of tear-shedding.